Matthew 12:31-32, how does this point to purgatory!?


#1

I have read this passage over and over again and it just does not make sense of the way people in the past liek Gregory the Great, in his expositional commentary, have used Matthew 12:31 to prove purgatory. Even CCC 1031 cites it.

We must look at the context. Look up at verse 30 “whoever is not witrh me is against me, and whoeveer does not gather with me scatters.” and then He goes onto say all sins are forgiven but blasphemy against the Spirit. To me the use of not in this age or int he age to come is to highly stress the point that it is not forgiveable … basically liek a dramtic way of saying NEVER… not to secretly imply a process or place of purgatory somehow hiddne amongst the words.


#2

Strictly speaking, I would say that no Catholic doctrine is “proved” by Scripture. The true faith, which was taught and promulgated before an iota of Scripture was written down, is reflected in the Scriptures, either implicitly or explicitly.

Might the words “in this life or in the next” just be Our Lord’s way of emphatically saying that the sin against the Spirit will never, ever be forgiven? Sure; that’s one possible interpretation.

Another, completely valid, is that there are some sins whose punishments are absolved in the next life and not in this one.

We know that the doctrine of Purgatory is true because Christ’s Church says it is, regardless of whether this doctrine is taught explicitly in the Scriptures, and regardless of whether it is contained in Matthew 12.

That’s my take, anyway.

For a more thorough defense of this doctrine, see

[quote=http://www.catholic.com/library/Purgatory.asp]“Purgatory”
[/quote]


#3

Might the words “in this life or in the next” just be Our Lord’s way of emphatically saying that the sin against the Spirit will never, ever be forgiven? Sure; that’s one possible interpretation.

But that is not what our Lord said, so that point is moot. This is a serious problem with the regular RC apologetic concerning this Scripture.

He did not say “this life or in the next,” or anything resembling that.

He said “in this AGE or in the AGE to come”

By definition, the latter must be of the same content as the former.

In the singular, “ages” in Scripture speak solely of time spans here on earth.

Another, completely valid, is that there are some sins whose punishments are absolved in the next life and not in this one.

Christ was not speaking of a next life. His listeners understood His point.

There is an age to come and it is not Purgatory.

We know that the doctrine of Purgatory is true because Christ’s Church says it is

And that is the dangerous linch pin of Catholicism, IMO.


#4

Compare the passage with its parallels in the other gospels: Mk 3:28-30; Lk 12:10.


#5

:amen:


#6

I don’t think its a good proof text for purgatory. The phrase “neither in this age [or world] or the age [world] to come” is another way of saying “never” – I agree about the parallel in Mark 3. The “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit…never has forgiveness” and is called an “eternal sin” (or “eternal damnation” KJV). Walter Martin handled this text in debate with Fr. Pacwa in their 1980s debate, and I haven’t referred to it since regarding purgatory. :slight_smile:

Apparently it was used by some of the early Fathers, including Pope Gregory the Great which is why the Catechism refers to it in a footnote. 1 Cor 3:10-15 and 1 Peter 1:6-9 and other biblical passages that refer to purification and sanctification and judgment according to works (Rom 2:5-10; 2 Cor 5:10) are better texts to use.

Church Fathers and purgatory

Now what I’d like to see from those who deny purgatory and who affirm Sola Scriptura is the one biblical proof text that shows Christ is one person with two natures and “of one substance” with the Father – yes, in those exact words. Plus where the Bible defines “person” and “nature” and “substance” :smiley:

Phil P


#7

All that passage really does is open up the glaring reality that there are aspects of salvation and purification that extend into the world to come.

I agree that it’s not a good proof text for Purgatory, but taken in context of all the other passages on this topic it is instructive and informative. This thread may help some.
Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.


#8

I agree with Church Millitant’s point, that this passage isn’t a solid proof of Purgatory, however it clearly demonstrates that salvation can continue past this age, into another age. Unless someone were to argue that we experience multiple ages while here on earth, then they must realize that the process of salvation can continue on in another age, or really world.

When I’m faced with the question of purgatory by anti-Catholic Christians, I don’t like to focus on what we have LEFT of Scripture today, as all (so called) “proof texts” are quite vague and easily interpreted many ways. What I like to do is point to the fact that Scripture was edited by Luther, for the express point of attacking the notion of Purgatory and then, by extension, indulgences.

Remember what Luther’s main focus was, to root out the abuse of indulgences at his time. Unfortunately, he took it too far by attacking Church doctrine itself, and really, the only way he could do that, specifically with the concept of Purgatory, was to remove 2 Macc from the Canon. The passage found at 2 Maccabees 12:40–45 CLEARLY shows that prayer for the dead is effectual. This is why 2 Macc had to be removed by Luther.

Protestants don’t like to admit it, but Luther DID remove portions of the Bible, this is historical fact. For me, the argument ends there, whether they acknowledge it or not, since it truly is the clearest Scriptural evidence for Purgatory of any. So, if the opponent is amazed by this, then the door to reason is opened, if they aren’t, or don’t admit Luther edited the Bible, then there’s no way any other remaining Scripture passages are going to convince them either.


#9

Plus, sins are not forgiven in purgatory, which is another reason I don’t use this verse. “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect…” (Catechism 1030 ff)

So 1 Cor 3:10-15; 1 Peter 1:6-9; Rev 21:27; Hebrews 12:14, 23, 29; 1 Thess 5:23; Malachi 3:2-3; 2 Macc 12; etc are more effective though none of them “prove” purgatory just as Matthew 28:19 or John 1:1 by itself doesn’t “prove” the Trinity.

Phil P


#10

If I recally, even the Church has, throughout her history, applied the word “forgiveness” when discussing temporal punishment. I understand that this ambiguous language was what added to the early confusion on the Church’s doctrine of indulgences. (Why many early theologians would say, matter-of-factly, that indulgences “forgive sins” when in fact that were not using the phrase in the sense in which a Protestant would take it.)


#11

I think that should read *Plus, mortal sins are not forgiven in purgatory, *. . .

Venial Sins are forgiven in purgatory.

They are not forgiven by an indulgence.


#12

im sitll confussed as to what the point of offering up prayers, rosaries, masses, etc for the dead in purgatory are then. They have to make up and be cleansed how can we shortne Gods justice, this seems problematic. Some of the texts used by apologetists to show prayign for the dead is scriptural are almost used in the sense that someone goign to hell through our prayers, saints intercesion, etc can sway that judgement and get them into heaven instead… which in effect turns into a popularity contest (for the one who the most support back home, on earth, then gets into heaven, albeit a long time in purgatory but still there, vs hell).


#13

I’d like to point out that when Jesus said those who blaspheme against the Spirit cannot be forgiven in this age or in the age to come…
Jesus was saying…there are sins that can be forgiven in this age and in the age to come

Some Protestants say that “this age” and “the age to come” are the Old and New Covenant and not this life and the next. This is false because that is out of context. All through the previous passages Jesus is talking of the kingdom of God and calling it of the age to come. So it says that there are sins that can be forgiven in THIS age and IN THE AGE TO COME… as in the age in which there are people on earth not in the kingdom of God and the age of people on earth not in the kingdom of God. i.e. There’s an age of the Earth and the age of Heaven. i.e. There’s forgiveness after the age of the Earth. i.e. Purgatory exists…a belief the Church has held for centuries.


#14

That is speaking of an age following the first one our Lord mentioned.

Each age is consecutive and objective. We all often have used the phrase “In ages past…” or "I haven’t spoken to him in ages…"

We all readily recognize that that is in no way speaking of other dimensions, worlds, places, or pre-lives.

No.

The ages mentioned do not overlap, nor are they relative to any individual (i.e. one person is in the age to come right now while another is in the age Christ was speaking of).

Some Protestants say that “this age” and “the age to come” are the Old and New Covenant and not this life and the next.

Christ never spoke of any singular “age” after death, nor does the Holy Spirit anywhere else in His wntire written Word.

This is false because that is out of context. All through the previous passages Jesus is talking of the kingdom of God and calling it of the age to come. So it says that there are sins that can be forgiven in THIS age and IN THE AGE TO COME… as in the age in which there are people on earth not in the kingdom of God and the age of people on earth not in the kingdom of God. i.e. There’s an age of the Earth and the age of Heaven.

This is incorrect. You will find nowhere where the Holy Spirit speaks of any singular “age” in Heaven or after death for the individual.

i.e. There’s forgiveness after the age of the Earth. i.e. Purgatory exists…a belief the Church has held for centuries.

Though not a belief of Christians since the Apostolic era.


#15

i.e. A belief which is not of your denominaton…long broken off from the Church.

EDIT:
Not to mention 2 Maccabees in chapter 12 which it speaks of Judas Maccabee telling those with him to pray for the men who had died in battle. Why would they pray for the dead unless they needed prayers? Why am I even quoting this…your denomination doesn’t count this as “scriptual.” Why not? I haven’t heard a reasonable answer yet.


#16

If you ave evidence that I am not in the Body of Christ, please present it.

Until then, please refrain from making judgments about who is “broken off.”

In any event, your remark doesn’t change the fact that the Apostolic era knew nothing of Purgatory. My interest is in what the actual reality was, not what other’s opinions are 2000 years after the fact.

Not to mention 2 Maccabees in chapter 12 which it speaks of Judas Maccabee telling those with him to pray for the men who had died in battle. Why would they pray for the dead unless they needed prayers?

They prayed for men supposedly in mortal sin and idolatry.

Maccabees mentions no Purgatory, inspired text or not.


#17

#1: You are arguing against what the Body of Christ teaches.

They did absolutely no such thing. Judas Maccabee recognized that those who were fighting probably didn’t realize that wearing supertitious amulets was against God. This implies VENIAL sin. There’s no implication of mortal sin. Especially since he offers money to the Church for their sake. Why would he pray for them and get an indulgence for them if he did not believe they were in Purgatory?


#18

Just because God graciously allows us to help each other out of Purgatory with prayers, doesn’t make the whole process a “popularity contest”.

First off, the whole thing is going on in Eternity. There’s no greater or lesser time there.

Second, God is firmly in charge. Nobody is going to get “stuck in Purgatory” while God’s around.

Third, if we down here aren’t getting on the stick, clearly the rest of the Communion of Saints is going to be doing plenty of praying. Also, those in Purgatory can pray for each other, as well as for us. (In fact, getting the prayers of souls in Purgatory for oneself was traditionally a great motivator to Christians to pray for them.)

Fourth, the Church prays for all the dead at every Mass.

Fifth, it is extremely traditional to pray for “poor souls with nobody to pray for them”, “those most in need of your mercy”, and so forth. There have been whole religious orders set up just for this purpose. Of course, given all the reasons above, a lot of this is just a kindly thought; but God can do a lot with pious kindly thoughts, and it pleases Him to do so.

It does us a lot of good to pray for others, and to pray to God. Whatever good God does with our prayers is only a sign of His gracious love and enjoyment of our tiny efforts to help. But the more tiny efforts we make to love and sacrifice for others, the more thoroughly we serve Christ as parts of His Body.


#19

Um . . . you need to do your homework.

As well, you might want to do some research on that religion called Judaism, of which Catholic Christianity is but the legitimate continuation. The doctrine of Purgatory is a direct inheritance from the Jewish religion.

As a devout Orthodox Jew, Jesus would have prayed for the dead that they may be “loosed from their sins”.


#20

**If you have evidence that I am not in the Body of Christ, please present it. **

#1: You are arguing against what the Body of Christ teaches.

Hmmmm.

Since when is the RC Magisterium the “Body of Christ”??

That is a very sad, but extremely avoidable, error.

They prayed for men supposedly in mortal sin and idolatry.

They did absolutely no such thing. Judas Maccabee recognized that those who were fighting probably didn’t realize that wearing supertitious amulets was against God.

You might be reading a different 2 Maccabees than I am. Here is a link to the chapter:

nccbuscc.org/nab/bible/2maccabees/2maccabees12.htm

Judas recognized that the soldiers did not know that they were wearing idols?

LOL, no.

He recognized something far different than what you claim:

“But under the tunic of each of the dead they found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. So it was clear to all that this was why these men had been slain.”

This implies VENIAL sin. There’s no implication of mortal sin.

2 Maccabees says that all these men were killed BECAUSE of that sin.

The text is clear that these men did indeed know what they were doing. Idolatry is a mortal sin in historical Catholicism. If the modern RCC has recently changed that, I don’t know.

Actually, the sin was more mortal than most: they were KILLED for it.

Especially since he offers money to the Church for their sake.

Yes. He crossed his fingers and had high hopes that that posthumous sacrifice would convince God to save the idolators.

Recorded errors are errors still regardless if they are done by Judas, Peter, John, Moses, etc…

Why would he pray for them and get an indulgence for them if he did not believe they were in Purgatory?

The text tells us:

“…he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.”

Judas did what he did for their resurrection of the dead, not any “purgatory.”

Good Catholics do not pray for the dead and offer sacrifice for the dead so they will be raised. It is RC doctrine that the only ones that can be benefitted from all this prayer and sacrifice are those who they already believe will be raised.

Not so for Judas.


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